The British stage premiere of Kaija Saariaho
’s L'Amour de loin
(love from afar) will be directed by renowned contemporary director Daniele Finzi Pasca. The opera, described by the New York Times as the ‘Best New Work of 2000’, will be conducted by Edward Gardner, a passionate admirer of Saariaho’s music, who earlier this year conducted her second opera Adriana Mater
. The UK premiere of L’Amour de loin takes place at English National Opera on July 3, 7, 9, 11 2009.
Of the new production Daniele Finzi Pasca comments “In dreams, we see reality in strange forms. With L’Amour de loin I will try to create that same magic on stage”
Commenting on the creative team Artistic Director of ENO, John Berry says “L’Amour de loin is a classic piece for the 21st century and with the talents of Daniele Finzi Pasca and a strong British cast, led by Music Director Edward Gardner, this production is a wonderful way to end our 2008/09 Season.”
Combining physical theatre and circus, Daniele Finzi Pasca’s direction of L’Amour de loin will be his first of an opera. Part of an extraordinary new circus revolution which has transformed the art form in recent years, his interest in clowning led him to form the Teatro Sunil in Switzerland in 1983. His production Rain for Montreal-based Cirque Eloize was a sell-out success on Broadway and his recent work Nebbia, which is a co-production between Cirque Eloize and Teatro Sunil, is currently touring worldwide. He has also worked with Cirque de Soleil, directing the acclaimed piece Corteo in 2003, and, in 2006, created the closing ceremony for the Turin Winter Olympic Games.
The tragic story of L’Amour de loin which focuses on a medieval French prince and a travelling pilgrim from the East provides the perfect backdrop for Daniele’s work. The Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952) based her opera (libretto by Lebanese-born writer Amin Maalouf) on the life and song texts La Vida breve by Jaufré Rudel, a French prince and troubadour of the 12th century. The legend tells of a dream of ideal love focused on an unattainable object of desire that becomes an obsession and whether or not such a love is best preserved from afar as opposed to its eventual realisation. Written for three principal roles taken by Roderick Williams (Jaufre Rudel), Joan Rodgers (Clemence), and Diana Montague (The Pilgrim), Saariaho’s score calls for a large orchestra, electronics and off-stage Chorus.